GolfDifferent Strokes

Shane Lowry stalling as Tom McKibbin makes steady progress

Offaly man will miss out on Genesis Invitational after disappointing finish in Phoenix

Frustrating week for Shane Lowry

This week’s Genesis Invitational at Riviera in Los Angeles is the biggest PGA Tour tournament of the season so far, and will see Tiger Woods’ return to tournament action as the host, while Rory McIlroy and Séamus Power will also feature.

It is another week, however, when Shane Lowry will fall on the wrong side of the signature event requirements, due to not having a high enough ranking on the PGA Tour last season or this season.

The Irishman’s finish at the Waste Management Phoenix Open of tied 60th will be bitterly disappointing after he went out in 31 shots on the opening day, and was tied 16th heading into Sunday. A final round of 76 will leave him searching for answers and it is another week on the outside looking in for ranking points.

Lowry is 53rd in the world golf rankings as Tom McKibbin rises to a career high 135th after an assured performance to finish fourth at the Qatar Masters on the DP World Tour.


McKibbin has made 10 straight cuts in a row now on the DP World Tour, a scoring average of 70.04 this season showing his consistency. At only 21 years old, McKibbin continues to improve as he steadily builds his career, the objective no doubt to join fellow Holywood golfer Rory McIlroy on the PGA Tour.

Meanwhile, Leona Maguire makes her second start of the season at the Aramco Saudi Ladies International in Riyadh, where she will compete against the likes of Lexi Thompson, Charley Hull, Georgia Hall and Carlota Ciganda.

In words

“I’m kicking myself but laughing at myself at the same time” – Lucas Glover, who withdrew from the Phoenix Open after misreading his tee time. The former US Open champion was sitting in his hotel room when he got a call one minute before he was due to play at 8.26am. Oops.

Scottie Scheffler’s putting woes continue

On the 14th hole of the Waste Management Phoenix Open on Sunday, Scottie Scheffler missed the green to the right, while sitting a couple of shots off the lead. His chip shot was not brilliant but left about 5 feet for par. The world number one never looked convincing over the putt, it edged out and the bogey killed off his chances – even as he birdied the famous 16th, he finished three strokes behind winner Nick Taylor.

This has been a common trend for the American, who has been a supreme ball-striker for a couple of years now, but has not had the wins to go with it. It is almost a year since he won a full-field event – the 2023 Players Championship, and he has only won two full-field events since the 2022 Masters.

At the Memorial tournament last summer, Scheffler gained more than 20 shots tee-to-green, one of the best ball-striking performances on record but finished a shot outside of a playoff because he lost almost nine shots to the field in putting. This week, he gained more than nine shots on the field with his approaches but again came up shy with the short game. Scheffler risks letting his peak years go to waste without capitalising because of a misbehaving putter.

TPC Scottsdale crowd gets extra rowdy

The widely proclaimed “loudest hole (and course) in golf” at TPC Scottsdale got out of hand over the weekend as footage from social media emerged of Zach Johnson losing his patience with hecklers. In the video, the American was seen saying “don’t sir me, I’m sick of it, just shut up!” to spectators that had been heckling him about his Ryder Cup captaincy. In another clip shared on social media, Billy Horschel told a fan in a more expletive-filled way to stay quiet when a player was over the ball.

On the 18th hole, Jordan Spieth threw his club down and said “what the f**k” when someone yelled during his backswing. Korean golfer Byeong Hun An called it “s**tshows” on Twitter/X and “totally out of control”. On Friday, a spectator was hospitalised after falling from the 16th hole grandstand, while on Saturday, the tournament stopped allowing fans on to the premises because it was too crowded, and briefly stopped alcohol sales. Booze on sale from the early morning might do it, but even if it is the “biggest party on grass” some limits may be advised.

In numbers

1.45 million – Graeme McDowell’s total payout in dollars after his LIV team Smash GC won the Las Vegas event, $700,000 for finishing fifth individually and another $750,000 as his share of the $3 million team prize. It was the first time he won the team event in 24 attempts.

Twitter/X twaddle

“Highlight of the fans from the week: Thursday on 16 Spieth made a bogey and a group of dudes chanted “overrated”. Within 3 seconds the rest of the crowd started to boo them for the blasphemy. Even the savages have rules.” – Max Homa on the atmosphere at the Phoenix Open.

“Cristobal del Solar wrapped up a rollercoaster scoring week on the @KornFerryTour today 57-69-75-63 It’s the lowest 72-hole total score in KFT history by a player with a round of 74 or higher.” – Justin Ray on a wild week for “Mr 57″ del Solar. Just the 18 shots between Thursday and Saturday. That’s golf.

“Some of the best fun I’ve ever had on the course. Mickelson and Snedeker were going head to head to win the tournament and I’m kicking balls over their heads. Unfortunately the tour banned it after this, for safety reasons. The crowd’s safety not my hamstrings.” – Pádraig Harrington reminiscing about the 16th hole at Scottsdale.

Know the rules

Q In stroke play, a marker signs the player’s scorecard in the space provided for the player’s signature and the player then signs in the space provided for the marker’s signature. What is the ruling?

A There is no penalty. This is covered by Rule 3.3b/2. Although all requirements of Rule 3.3b must be clearly met before a scorecard is returned, there is no penalty if the correct information is mistakenly entered in a place other than where it was expected to be, except that each hole score on the scorecard must be identifiable to the correct hole.

What’s in the Bag – Nick Taylor

Driver – Titleist TSi3 (10 degrees)

3-wood – Titleist TSi2 (15 degrees)

5-wood – TaylorMade SIM2 Max (18 degrees)

Hybrid – Titleist TSR2 (21 degrees)

Irons – Titleist T200 (4), Titleist T100 (5-9)

Wedges – Titleist Vokey Design SM10

Putter – TaylorMade Spider Tour Red